New York City in a Weekend: The Foods of NY Tour

 

Chelsea Market Food Tour

I love New York and I love to eat so  the Chelsea Market/Meatpacking Food Tour for $52.00! (Thursday is a discounted day!) was perfect for a Saturday !

According to the website:
The Snapshot:
NYC’s historic indoor Food Market mecca plus a short walk on the old cobblestoned streets of the, now trendy, Meatpacking District & visit to the famous Highline – a park in the sky
The Full Description:
Tour NYC’s urban (indoor) Chelsea Food Market. Become a market insider while experiencing the sights, sounds, and flavors of this historic 112-year old landmark building which was the birthplace of the Oreo Cookie.
Learn the history of the Market, view original artwork and granite sculptures, and learn how the Chelsea Market has become the ultimate indoor food paradise (while tasting your way through).
Then step outside and take a stroll on “THE HIGH LINE”, New York’s only elevated outdoor park for great views of the Hudson River. Finish the tour with a sit-down food tasting at a restaurant in The Meatpacking District and learn all about this trendy area – NYC’s hottest destination for nightlife!
On this tour you will taste delicious specialties from seven “mom and pop” food shops in the Chelsea Market and one restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Also, get a glimpse inside one of two IRON CHEF RESTAURANTS made famous on the FOOD NETWORK: MORIMOTO or Mario Batali and Joe & Lidia Bastianich’s DEL POSTO!*

I am partial to the Reading Terminal Market here in Philadelphia which opened its doors in 1892 but I have to say that I loved the Chelsea Market! Darrell was our tour guide and his training as an actor certainly brought excitement, animation and great fun to our two and a half hour tour (Definitely ask for him!). We feasted on colorful and delicious cupcakes at Eleni’s , had the best chocolate milk I have ever tasted at Ronnybrook Dairy, tasted the legendary delicious preserves on hot muffins from Sarabeth’s Kitchen,
Lucy’s Whey provided a delicious cheese tasting experience. A warm and perfectly smooth quiche was brought out to the group in Buon Italia . We tasted salts,spices, vinegars and herbs all while laughing and listening to the history of the market, shops and surrounding area. The only problem was the fact that with so many restaurants, there was only one bathroom and the line was soooo long which could have been very painful for some! Darrell took us to the rest rooms in Morimoto (Unfortunately, no taste testing here!).  In all my travels I have never seen anything like it! Women would go in, shut the door and we would all hear exclamatory ooohhhsss and auggghhhhsss behind closed doors…all because of the heated seats, music, infinity glass art, and so many more amenities! Worth the experience if you are in the area!  This is the first time I have ever recommended a toilet experience! “Upscale”, “gentrification” were often used words in our group’s conversations. We numbered 12 from across the US and we all hugged at the end! Darrell brought that bonding about!

The Gansevoort Meatpacking Hotel is luxurious and chic. We could not resist going up to the Penthouse (even though we were not staying there) for a breathtaking 360 degree panoramic view of the city with sunset views over the Hudson. There is a pool, bar and many comfortable couches to just relax. take in the views and momentarily dream!  It was so hard to leave but reality and the dinner bell brought us back to the streets and the Restaurante Italiano. Appetizers were all we needed but we received such attentive care even with a bill not in the triple digit range. Dining outdoors was wonderful for people watching. We met Frances the dog and his owner so you know I had to talk to the dog lover to find out the legacy of this name. Frances was Bill’s mother and sister so he not only bore “Frances” tattoos but named this stubborn little girl after them. A chance meeting that became another bonding experience! Gotta love a man with “Frances” across strong arms!

 

Spices and Tease

Spices and Tease

 

Darrell's Gift Ideas

Darrell’s Gift Ideas

Taste Testing

Taste Testing

Chelsea Food Market

Chelsea Food Market

Sarabeth's Specialty

Sarabeth’s Specialty

Sarabeth's Bakers

Sarabeth’s Bakers

Eleni's Cookies

Eleni’s Cookies

Eleni's Cookies

Eleni’s Cookies

State of the ARt Bathroom Experience

State of the ARt Bathroom Experience

Penthouse View

Penthouse View

 

View from the Penthouse

View from the Penthouse

 

Frances The Dog

Frances The Dog

 

Darrell and I

Darrell and I

 

We The People: Ellis Island

The Path That Determines Destiny

The Preamble to the Constitution begins with the familiar words, “We The People.” In order to fully realize the impact of these words and the freedoms being accorded today it is so important to go back and to look back. A recent visit to Ellis Island was as powerful for me as entering any cathedral, temple or mosque. I felt as if it was truly “sacred ground”. From 1892 to 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered the US through this portal…over 12 million people from all different races, cultures and beliefs, gathering, praying, hoping and dreaming for a future of promise and opportunity while pleading for an escape from persecution, poverty and oppression.

I walked in a type of silent reverence through these halls being struck by so many bags, personal items and photographs but there was one moment in particular that was such a touchstone for me. I was taken behind the scenes and shown places closed off to the public. The photograph above captures the exact point that set into motion the destiny of millions…my destiny. You see, my great grandparents were immigrants from Russia, Germany and Ireland. When they got to this point, they were all told to go to the right. They were now US citizens. The path to the left was for those being kept and or sent back due to the belief of a contagious disease. That one decision, that path set into motion a generational rippling effect. I, my grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters would now be blessed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This photograph hangs in my home to remind me how fortunate I am and how one moment, one decision can effect destiny.

Copyright 2012 Frances Schwabenland. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of Frances Schwabenland.

The New York Times Travel Show

Receiving a press pass for the New York Times Travel Show this past weekend was similar to receiving the “keys to the kingdom”!!! One could meander through aisles and experience continental wonders …beautiful colors and vistas, music and food from culture after culture. If one wanted to know when Cuba would be open to travel or how to plan an African Safari or how to make the most of social media while on a trip, the New York Times brought in many famous speakers to address these topics. Arthur and Pauline Frommer offered their sage wisdom on how to offset the high cost of airline tickets by choosing alternative lodgings of private homes and apartments which could lead to a much deeper experience of place by immersion with local people and hundreds of dollars in savings. www.airbnb as well as www.wimdu.com. Pauline suggested booking 4-6 weeks before departure and doing this on either Tues. or Wed. rather than the weekend. In order to find reduced rates, follow airlines on Twitter around 11 am because they are trying to compete with Expedia etc. and will offer very special rates for a few hours to those that are following them on social media. Non direct flights as well as 2 one way tickets could be cheaper in cost. Autoslash is an excellent site to provide lower car rental costs. They will make bookings for each client and if the cost drops, they will send out an email. SeatGuru is the ultimate source for determining if premium seating on flights is truly worth the cost. They also suggested contacting ethnic travel companies in order to experience the culture more directly. Global Greeters connects locals who are very happy to provide tours of their homeland for free.

Samantha Brown reminded us all of how important it is to be flexible and to know the key words of “Hello”, “Please”, “Thank You” in the country you are fortunate enough to be visiting…”better to butcher a language but to show you are trying to make the connection.” Travel is so much about getting past the picture postcard image and connecting with the people. She also suggested visiting the local market for a very quick language lesson by reading the signs and becoming familiar with the types of food in that locale.

.My day ended with a conversation with Mark Murphy, the author of “Travel Unscripted”. He is a 20 year travel veteran who shares his first hand extraordinary experiences in this new book. To quote Rudy Maxa from public television, “Mark Murphy brings a conversational voice, an impertinent ‘tude’, and a wry eye to life on the road.”

So here I sit, surrounded by beautiful photographs and brochure after brochure offering very enticing offers. I am off to Europe this spring and then who knows…it is all so captivating!

Copyright 2012 Frances Schwabenland. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of Frances Schwabenland.

IPhone Photography

IPhone Photography to convey the sense of place.

There are times when we come upon a place that we find ourselves drawn in so many different directions trying to take it all in. This sense of place can be very overwhelming. Visiting the 9/11 Memorial as well as St. Paul’s Chapel, was so profound and multi-faceted…death, destruction, hope, courage, rising from the ashes and love to last through eternity…I searched for a way to bring together the images which were so striking to me.
This creative need found its form.

In order to convey a sense of place, I started using the photo collage app. Rather than sending many separate photographs, the merging captures the layers of the experience.

“There’s an app for that!” is repeated time and time again. Appadvice.com provides information on many other collage apps to enhance creativity!

Kefi

This past weekend in NYC, my friends and I walked into a restaurant located at 505 Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side. This Greek restaurant with walls of white, dishes of blue and mosaics of waves in motion transported us to not only a place but also a spirit.  “Kefi” was the name chosen by the owners, Michael Psilakis and Donatella Arpaia, in order to capture “the bliss that accompanies bacchanalia”.  They succeeded…the food was delicious ! White zinfandel sangria, grilled octopus and the best tsoutsoukakia were only a few of the offerings.  I also became  caught up by the spirit of KEFI. About.com  states that this means one’s joy, passion, exuberance for life, one’s own style.  Can you picture Zorba dancing on the beach?!  So the rest of the weekend, with camera in hand, my focus became finding moments of kefi!  I hope you find yours today!